Many people dream of travelling around the world for months and even years in a row, but only few of them have the financial means to fulfil such a dream. Unfortunately, not everybody knows that there are several ways one can travel for free, or at least for very little money. If you dream of a globe-trotting adventure yourself, here are some tricks you can use to make it come true:
1. House swapping
If you own a house, this is a way to make major savings while benefiting from comfortable accommodation. Living in a private home during your holidays abroad comes with a series of advantages that go beyond the economies you make on accommodation costs: you can shop in the local groceries and cook your own meals in a fully equipped kitchen; you have more opportunities of getting to know the local people; you can live like a local without disturbing your daily habits; you can use the owner's internet connection to check your mails and keep in touch with your friends and family.
If you are seduced by this money saving idea, just google "house swapping" or "house exchange" and you will find plenty of specialised websites. Although many of them ask for an annual subscription fee, consider it a wise investment. For only a small amount of money, you can have your ad posted for a whole year and make life time connections.
2. House sitting
As the hotel or even hostel room's cost represent a significant part of your travelling expenditure, finding free accommodation will certainly help. If you are not a house owner or you live in an area that is not attractive for tourists, you should consider house sitting.
When leaving their residence for a long time (holiday, job relocation, etc.), many people prefer, for various reasons (fear of being robbed, dog that needs to be fed and walked, garden that needs to be watered, etc.), having someone actually live in their house while they are away. If you are willing to find such a deal, post an ad on specialised forums and website, advertise your services via social media networks, and spread the word among your friends.
3. Couch surfing
This concept was regarded with a bit of suspicion at its beginnings. However, couch surfing has become increasingly popular during the last years, especially with the youth. You may not have a whole house to swap, but you certainly can find a couch to lend to a guy/girl willing to visit your town. What makes the idea of couch surfing even more interesting is that the whole thing does not have to be mutual. You can, for instance, surf somebody's couch in Hong Kong, and later on, lend your sofa to a person from Seattle visiting your residence town Manchester.
The couch surfing site allows members to build up a whole online profile, and you can even look for a host who has a similar lifestyle, musical taste, or centres of interest. Moreover, you can use the site even if your living conditions don't allow you to provide other members with an accommodation option. If your house is too small, or you are living with an old relative who does not accept strangers in the house, you can simply offer to take tourists out for a drink, show them around, or accompany them on day trips. This does not put any limits on your use of the site.